Re-Trying Carlos the Jackal, Celebrity Terrorist

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 10/21/2014 01:30:00 AM
bin Laden is dead and gone, but Carlos rambles on.
Whereas Osama bin Laden struck me as a po-faced fanatic, Venezuelan Carlos the Jackal always had an ironic streak to him. At the height of his infamy, his pseudo-socialist leanings gave lie to his high living nature as a self-styled "professional revolutionary." The contradictions inherent in Carlos the Jackal are what make him interesting in a manner that eluded bin Laden. The latter was simply a blowhard, whereas the former always had a nudge and a wink ready. As he jetted from one America-hating safe haven to another the world over in between (attempted) acts of terrorism against the West, his actual threat was well-exceeded by his inflated self-image. This was a guy caught, after all, after France effectively bought off the Sudanese. For all that, I hardly think anyone is going to make a five-and-a-half-hour biopic of Osama bin Laden. (And, unlike the movie actor, the real Carlos was always on the chubby side.)

Recently, Carlos the Jackal resurfaced again as his French captors made him stand trial for another terrorist incident in France from long ago. He isn't so young anymore, but he displayed some of the panache that made him the world's most famous terrorist--which he ironically is once more after the killing of bin Laden--wearing a Russian ushanka hat with the flaps tied up while appearing in court late last year. (He didn't get expelled from the Soviet-era Patrice Lumumba Friendship University for nothing.) Now, he's back:
An investigating judge specialising in anti-terror cases had ordered the latest prosecution, French newspaper Le Figaro reported on Tuesday. Ramirez, 64, had admitted carrying out the 15 September 1974 attack on the Drugstore Saint-Germain in an Algerian newspaper five years later, French media said. He has already been given a life sentence for killing 11 people and wounding another 150 in four attacks dating back to the early 1980s:
  • In March 1982, a bomb exploded on a train between Paris and Toulouse, killing five people and wounding 28
  • A month later a car bomb attack was mounted on an anti-Syrian newspaper in Paris, with one passer-by killed and 60 injured
  • On New Year's Eve 1983, a bomb on a TGV fast train between Marseille and Paris killed three people and wounded 13
  • A bomb at a Marseille train station killed two
Ramirez has also been linked to several other attacks outside France.
bin Laden's successors at the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) are even more pointlessly bloodthirsty than he ever was. Carlos the Jackal was from a different age when targets were more Western ones and socialist fervor was more the cause. That is, the "international workingman" was a broad church where people of different ethnicities could work against bourgeois oppressors. With the fundamentalists, it's simplified into a "you're either with or against us," Muslims against infidels struggle.